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Coordinates: 51°39′04″N 0°36′45″E / 51.651, 0.6124
South Woodham Ferrers

South Woodham Ferrers is located in Essex
South Woodham Ferrers

 South Woodham Ferrers shown within Essex
Population 16,629 approx.
OS grid reference TQ812970
District Chelmsford
Shire county Essex
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CM3 5SE
Dialling code 01245
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Maldon
List of places: UK • England • Essex

South Woodham Ferrers is a town and civil parish in the borough of Chelmsford, in the English county of Essex. It is approximately 35 mi (56 km) from London and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of 16,629. The town is situated east of Fenn Creek, near to where it meets the River Crouch.[1] South Woodham Ferrers is currently part of the Maldon constituency represented by John Whittingdale.


The railway station opened in 1889 to serve South Woodham Ferrers and the surrounding area. The town of South Woodham Ferrers continued to develop until it was formally recognised as a separate community to Woodham Ferrers, located one mile north.[2]

In 1981 Queen Elizabeth II opened the town square, which is named after her.

Many street names in the south-western part of the town are taken from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, such as Gandalf's Ride, Gimli Watch, Rivendell Vale, Celeborn Street, Hobbiton Hill and Arwen Drive.


The main secondary school in the town is William de Ferrers School, the first intake of which was in 1982. The town is also home to five primary schools: Collingwood, Elmwood, St. Josephs RC, Trinity St. Mary's C of E and Woodville. Chetwood Primary School was closed in 2009 and was replaced by a Sure Start centre.

Town centre[]

The town centre consists of around 100 business units. Approximately 45% are retail premises, with the remainder being a combination of professional services (such as banks and estate agents) and dining locations such as cafés and restaurants.

The supermarket chain Asda is regarded as a key development partner for the town centre, opening a store in the town in late 1978 which made them the principal retailer in the town. In 2001 Essex County Council sold the freehold for the vast majority of the town to Asda, who in turn sold a package of land and property to SW Investments. As a result of these sales, Asda own the town's car parks, Queen Elizabeth II Square and approximately one third of the shop premises in the town centre. SW Investments owns most of the remaining areas in the town centre, including Market Square, with the remaining premises having a variety of private owners.

Chelmsford City Council has recently entered a consultation period with a number of groups in the town, including the local business group, over the future development of the town centre.

South Woodham Ferrers has a weekly magazine called 'The South Woodham Focus', established in 2000 and then sold in 2003 to Maypole Press and Publishing, a commercial printer in the town.

Bushy Hill (aka "Radar Hill")[]

Bushy Hill is part of South Woodham Ferrers town council area, and lies to the north of the town. The west face of Bushy Hill was covered in broad leafed woodland and known locally as 'Little Wood'. 'Big Wood', officially named Hawe's Wood and also known as 'Bluebell Wood', is closer to Edwin's Hall. Later the hill became known locally as "Radar Hill" due to having been visually dominated[3] by a radar testing site. This site was operated by a number of the former Marconi[4] companies including Alenia Marconi Systems, and more recently (currently?) used by BAE Systems to develop various radar technologies,[5] some of which are for military use. The site remains in use, but the large dish which earned the hill its nickname has been removed. Online mapping services such as Google Maps clearly show the site in use, including a helipad. The public footpath around the site passes the entrance sign warning of "helicopters landing, danger of radiation" and other such dangers associated with a working radar testing site. The inner workings of the site are well secured with a security gatehouse, anti-climb heras fencing and a number of CCTV cameras.[6] Bushy Hill was also known locally, before Marconi came to use it, as "Landslip Hill", referring to the south face of the hill which has slid away leaving a bare escarpment, clearly visible from the town.



The town is connected by the A132 to the A130, A127 and other main routes. The B1012 goes east to Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch and the B1418 north to Danbury.


The town has a station on the single-track Crouch Valley Line from Wickford to Southminster.


There is a ferry across the River Crouch to Hullbridge and Rayleigh and other destinations including Southend Airport which is about 10 km or 6 miles away.


South Woodham Ferrers is the home of a male voice choir. Originally named after the town, it now performs under the name of men2sing. (Member, National Association of Choirs. Website


In Summer 2006, South Woodham Ferrers elected its first town mayor, Councillor Ian Roberts.


South Woodham Ferrers Rugby Club has a Club House at Saltcoats Park, running teams at ages between under 7 and under 16. Players as young as two can join Little Scrummers on Saturday mornings. The youth section consists of under 17s and colts and have three senior teams, a veterans team and a ladies team. The First Team has just been promoted to the London North East Second Division.

South Woodham Ferrers Cricket Club currently runs three teams in the T Rippon Mid-Essex League, playing home games at Purleigh CC and Salcoats Park. South Woodham Ferrers currently is home to amateur football teams. William De Ferrers, Focus Ferrers, Fennlands, Woodham Town , Woodham Radars , Woodham Wanderers.

Notable people[]

  • Terry Alderton, comedian, actor, and television presenter
  • Richard Jones, winner of Britain's Got Talent 2016
  • Gordon Southern, comedian
  • Jon Morter, campaigner of Rage Against the Machine and The Justice Collective UK Christmas No.1 singles, and radio presenter
  • James Harper, professional footballer
  • Magistrates, band


  1. ^ "South Woodham Ferrers". ESSCRP. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Frankland, John (1992). South Woodham Ferrers : a pictorial history. Chicester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-832-8. 
  3. ^ "Domesday Reloaded: Marconi Radar". Quotation from unnamed school pupil about local landmarks, recorded as part of BBC's Domesday project in 1986. BBC. Retrieved 2011. 
  4. ^ Simons, Roy. "Forty Years of Marconi Radar from 1946 to 1986 (GEC Review Vol.13 No.3 1998)". 1998 report on Marconis history of radar research work in the UK, mentioning Bushy Hill. GEC Review. Retrieved 2011. 
  5. ^ Eastwood, Eric. "Radar's contribution to studies of birds". Report on study of bird life carried out at Bushy Hill circa 1958. New Scientist. Retrieved 2011. 
  6. ^

External links[]

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at South Woodham Ferrers. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.